Here’s an example of exactly how pathetic the Republican’s “let’s shut down the government” strategy is…now the Daily Kos is running a “Thank you, President Obama for standing up to the Republicans” petition drive.
A few months ago, numerous of the lefty-movement publications and activist groups said “President Obama” the way people say swear words or the beginning syllables of a voodoo curse. If I received any E-mails from the Daily Kos about President Obama, they would be prefaced with a subject line like “Why do we kill people to show that killing people is wrong” or “President Obama and the NSA have no one left to spy on”, etc., etc., ad infinitum, ad nauseaum. The Kos was certainly not the only liberal-lefty group that was poisoning my E-mail inbox with such nonsense, either. I had actually written Move On several times about their tone regarding a president they had helped to get elected.
But now? Well, thanks to the increasingly suicidal Republican Party’s antics, the president is again genuinely _popular_ with liberals. All it took is a display of backbone on the President’s part, and the liberal Left is back in the enthusiasm zone.
Of course, this is bad for the hardcore firebaggers, who declared war on the President a long time ago and want the influence they had back. There are some signs they are developing tactics to remind people why they don’t like Obama – and some of those tactics are pretty distasteful.
One of them involves a professor of economics at UMass-Amherst, Gerald Friedman, who recently came out with a study claiming that Obamacare will fail by 2017. Sounds like a Tea Party-friendly conclusion, right? This professor, however, is arguing that only a single-payer system will avoid this failure – he is pitching his research as an attack on Obama from the progressive Left rather than the extremist Right. His article in the Democratic Socialists of America’s newsletter _Democratic Left_ shows what his argument looks like. It describes Obamacare as a “bad idea” and implies that Obama knows it is one and that when it “fails”, this will clear the way for single-payer. http://www.dsausa.org/national_health_insurance
Not surprisingly, however, faux populists and extremist right-wingers have picked up on the professor’s research and they are only mentioning the conclusion that Obamacare will “fail”, rather than the part about this professor making a pitch for even more socialised health care than Obamacare involves.
Are the firebaggers trying to set that record straight? Of course not. They hate Obama more than the radical Right. They’d much rather clasp hands with Glenn Beck than do anything that indicates they’re fighting alongside a President, however progressive, that they consider to be the real enemy.
And so we have evaluations like this, from Dan Aronson, a faux populist activist with the Coffee Party, who explains the professor’s point of view this way: “This PRO-Obama Economist explains why the ACA WILL fail, and that the President knows it will. Yes, the ACA will have positive effects in the short term; but according to the administration’s own numbers, it will fail by 2017.” Friedman is, of course, not pro-Obama – he’s a firebagger deliberately trying to create an anti-Obama narrative to sway the liberal Left. But you can see from this how he is going to be represented to everyone else…”even the President’s supporters hate socialised medicine.” And firebaggers will allow that misrepresentation as long as it causes the President political problems. https://www.facebook.com/coffeeparty/posts/10152298310318327
Friedman is not the only person trying to gin up a purists-vs-realists, single-payer-vs-Obamacare false debate here. Amy Goodman of the “Democracy Now” Left web journalism site has also been doing her best to publicise an anti-Obama interpretation to the health care debate just exactly at the time that the Republicans are bringing the entire government to its knees because they can’t even accept Obamacare, never mind single-payer. She recently has taken this argument to the pages of The Guardian as well. My favourite example of her deliberately slanted coverage of Obamacare is how she takes a typographical error on a state government website as an example of a “disastrous rollout” for Obamacare. “We apologize for the inconvenience. The Marketplace is currently undergoing regularly scheduled maintenance and will be back up Monday 10/7/3013. You read it right, 3013. That was the message on the homepage of the New York state health insurance exchange website this past weekend.” Oh my goodness, yes. Obamacare is doomed because some overworked state official in New York State government hit the “3” button instead of the “2” button right next to it on the keyboard when setting up a website message and then didn’t notice it. Such incompetence! http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/oct/10/obamacare-bandaid-healthcare-radical-surgery
Fortunately, there are some risks the the firebagger strategy here, because those on the liberal Left they are trying to sway with this approach of bringing up single-payer purism again may not be impressed. Here, after all, is President Obama being challenged savagely by the hard Right over Obamacare. If Obamacare was a useless reform, why would the hard Right be so worried it’s being implemented? Most people on the liberal Left, even if they are persuaded the firebagger narratives on the NSA or Syria or whatever else are right, know that sounds fishy. Their instincts, properly, are to defend the President against this right-wing assault.
And so we have the Daily Kos running a petition drive to thank the President, and the prospect that a lot of movement liberals will actually sign it instead of working so hard to turn Obama into the next LBJ.
We can thank the Republican Party for creating that turnaround of public opinion.
Certainly Republicans must appreciate how monumentally stupid that is. The liberal Left was eating itself alive – and Ted Cruz and company managed to stop that, mobilise people to get the President’s back instead of attacking him, and focus everyone’s attention on stopping the Tea Party instead. Stupid stupid stupid.
I’ll just sit back and enjoy the stupidity, I think. It’s coming at a very convenient time.